Kaprow's Vector by John D'Agostino at The Grass Over Graves
Has Art Committed Suicide?

“Once the task of the artist was to make good art; now it is to avoid making art of any kind.”
                                                                  - Allan Kaprow

At The Museum of Modern Art on the evening of March 17, 1960,  art quite literally  – committed suicide. Jean Tinguely’s Homage to New York was a towering 27 foot high contraption of parts, refuse & instruments, what the artist called a “self-destroying work of art.” Once activated, the device proceeded to set on fire and destruct. Nevertheless this symbolic coup de gras, today there may be a different, perhaps more sinister, form of artistic suicide.

Today’s contemporary artists employ a suite of provocative and experimental techniques to create new works, from working blindly in darkrooms, to emergent software that generates its own forms, to painters who use printers to ‘paint’, to interactive designers who allow the audience to create their works. And yet, there is a built-in ambiguity to this new modus operandi, for as as much as these new processes are innovative and exciting, they may also oddly be very disempowering to the actual artist himself, who is now content to let the machine take over. So much so in fact, that is now become vogue for the artist to disavow any involvement whatsoever.

Has the artist finally become a machine, as Warhol predicted? Or does the machine now make a “better” work of art than a human being? Just how important is it we know ‘how’ a work of art is made? Does it matter? Or is our new technology actually a handicap if the artist is no longer confident, capable or willing to control it?

This discussion group will debate Man versus the Machine, and the processes & practices of the contemporary artist, engaging in a meaninfgul dialogue about the promises and perils of the new modus operandi of the 21st century.

Jean Tinguely, Homage to New York, 1960.
Wade Guyton, ‘painting’ made
with Epson printer
Illustration of Carl Andre and his famous
bricks, by Chris Garratt
Walead Beshty, Fedex, 2005.
Philip Worthington, Shadow Monsters,
interactive design at MoMA
Greg Stimac, Inkjet Print of
Car Windshield collecting bugs and debris from Sante Fe to
Billings, NM
Jason Salavon, Print made with software
averaging the Hals Portraits